Day 3 – this morning, we loaded up the car and left our lovely studio apartment in Forks to continue our road trip. Our first stop was the Sol Duc Hot Springs. It took us about an hour to get there, in plenty of time to get entry passes for the 10 AM swimming slot. This is a well-kept and well-managed facility, run by the NPS. They open it up to the public in 90 minute slots, at 8 to 9:30 AM, 10 to 11:30 AM etc. They use the 30 minutes in between to take the temperature and to check water quality and safety. There are three hot pools, each a slightly different temperature, and one large cold swimming pool. We spent a very pleasant hour shuttling between the hot and cold pools. Don’t think these hot springs are lukewarm; these pools are hot, they run anywhere from about 37° to 40°C. For my American friends, that’s about 101° to 104°F! $18 pp for a 90-minute slot, first-come, first-served. But the young lady at the counter mentioned that its usually not hard to get a ticket for weekday mornings.
Once we got cleaned up and changed, we hopped in the car again and we made our way back up to Port Angeles. On the way we got fantastic views of Lake Crescent.
Our ultimate destination was actually Hurricane Ridge Visitor Centre, another Park ranger station in the Olympic Forest National Park. But while in the hot pools in Sol Duc, we had a nice conversation with a lady who is actually from Port Angeles, and she told us about a must-try restaurant. Since it was lunchtime, and it was on our way, we made a very short detour into downtown Port Angeles, making a beeline for a restaurant called Turnip The Beet. Yes, cute name, but the food was also excellent. After a couple of days of mainly fried food options at most restaurants in the Forks area, it was a treat to sit down and have a fresh healthy satisfying meal. The servings were so huge, we actually had enough for two meals. The lovely ladies in the restaurant packed up our leftovers for us, and we popped it into our cooler to take back with us for dinner later.
Tummies full, we set the GPS to take us to Hurricane Ridge Visitor Centre. It was a lovely drive that climbed up the side of the mountain, with better views around each corner. Once we got to the top, the views were breathtaking. The Olympic mountain range looking south, and Port Angeles, the Juan de Fuca Strait, Vancouver Island, and Saltspring Island looking north. We did a short hike to see the views in the wildflowers in the meadow.
And then Al was feeling particularly energetic so he climbed up to the top of Hurricane Ridge Trail where, if you can believe it, the views were even better.
Finally, after a great day of exploring, it was time to head to our new home for the next two nights. The town is Sequim (pronounced Sk-wim), and who doesn’t want to say that they stayed in Sk-wim 😀! Its claim to fame is that it is the lavender capital of North America. We arrived at our little AirBnB studio apartment, appropriately called Studio With A View. You could see sunflowers up close and lavender fields in the distance.